PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Senior guard Denzel Primus-Devonish (Riverdale, Md.) buried an open three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left to give Pace University a 65-62 win over Bentley University in back-and-forth Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action Saturday afternoon at the Goldstein Fitness Center.
There were eight ties and eight lead changes before Primus-Devonish, a 26 percent long distance shooter for the season, knocked down his only three-ball in four attempts on the day. Following a pair of timeouts, Bentley's long inbound pass was deflected by six-foot-eight Jamaal James (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Pace's nine-game losing streak came to an end.
The loss dropped Bentley to 13-7 overall (7-7 Northeast-10) and spoiled a 22-point performance from sophomore forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS). Pace left the court 4-16 overall and 2-12 in the conference.
Bentley, after trailing by as many as nine in the second half, used a 20-6 surge to regain the lead, 55-50 with 7:55 left. Junior guard Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS), who matched his career-best with 16 points, helped lead the comeback with a pair of three-pointers and a driving lay-up.
After McFarland sank two free throws with 7:55 left to put the Falcons up five, Bentley went scoreless for more than four-and-a-half minutes. That dry spell led to 11 unanswered points by Pace and a six-point lead for the Setters.
A Hyland three-ball from the right wing ended the drought, cutting the Bentley deficit to three with 3:15 left. McFarland made it a one-point game with a tip-in with 1:50 to play, and sophomore Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) scored on a drive to put Bentley back in front, 62-61, with 1:13 on the clock.
Pace sophomore forward Jaylen Mann (Youngstown, Ohio) made the first of two at the line to tie the game with 50.3 seconds left and Bentley junior guard JP Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA) claimed the rebound off the second attempt. McFarland, among the conference's best in three-point accuracy, misfired on a three from the top of the key with 0:17 to play, and the rebound by Pace senior Jonathan Merceus (Union, N.J.) set the stage for Primus-Devonish's heroics.
Bentley faced a 38-31 deficit at the half after being outscored 14-4 over the final four minutes. Included were a pair of three-pointers from Mann, who entered the game with only 17 triples and a .270 success rate from downtown. He made five of eight against the Falcons and finished with a team-best 19 points.
McFarland finished 8 of 15 overall, zero for three from outside and six of seven from the line. Keegan made six of ten shots overall, including four of five from three-point land. Koury collected a career-high 11 rebounds and came within a point of a double-double.
Pace, in addition to the 19 from Mann, received 17 points, ten rebounds and three assists from Merceus and 11, along with six rebounds and five assists, from Primus-Devonish.
After shooting only 32 percent in the first half, Bentley warmed up to .500 for the second half, but was outshot for the game, 42-40 percent. Three-pointers, normally a Falcon forte, were even at six, and the visitors had a slight rebound edge, 37-35. There were only 13 turnovers in the game, with Pace losing it just five times.
Bentley, tied for fourth in the NE-10's Northeast Division, will also be on the road Wednesday for a 7:30 game at Assumption College.